Step 3. The Council

The main tasks of the Council include:

The Council acts as a legislator.

        • The Council co-legislates together with the European Parliament, and serves as one of the EU’s two legislative chambers.
        • The Council concludes international agreements with third countries and international bodies in the areas of Common Commercial Policy, Development Aid and Humanitarian Operations.

Executive role of the Council.

      • The Council adopts conclusions, recommendations, decisions and sanctions on a wide range of issues such as armed conflicts, human rights issues, terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
      • The Council can send civilian, police and military missions to contribute to peacekeeping, state-building and the rule of law in countries with an unstable political climate.
      • The Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is in charge of the European External Action Service, the EU’s own corps diplomatique.
      • The Council makes the key formal decisions in the accession procedure of new member states by officially declaring countries as candidate members and deciding upon their accession process.

(Source: adapted from Lelieveldt, Herman and Sebastiaan Princen. 2011. The Politics of the European Union. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 59-60)